Law ministry did not carry out Supreme Court order regarding suspension of the lower court judges for corruption and misconduct, says Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) of Bangladesh is expressively annoyed with the repeated time petitions of the government for finalizing service rules and conduct for lower court judges’ and publish gazette to this effect.
“The judiciary has been taken hostage,” the court observed, an eight-member full bench of Appellate Division led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha observed while granting two weeks more time to the state to issue the gazette.
The SC made the observation on Tuesday and also partially accepted a petition of Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, who pleaded for the time on behalf of the government.
“The State is not playing fair. We hope the government will publish the gazette within the deadline,” Justice Sinha said. “Do cooperate with us,” Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha told the Attorney General during the hearing.
“Do keep in mind that the State considers institutions over individuals,” he told Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, who was representing the government during hearing.
The Chief law officer of the state prayed eight more weeks to finalize the set of rules as the draft rules was sent to the President by the law minister after receiving it from the SC.
The Chief Justice said that it was ‘absolutely untrue’ as the law ministry’s petition for time did not mention when and how the Law Minister sent the draft rules to the President.
He said that he recently met the President twice but the latter said nothing about receiving the rules.
Justice Sinha said that the Supreme Court had nothing to do when a judge could not be punished even after being caught red handed for corruption as the ministry said the matter awaited a presidential decision.
He said that the Supreme Court could do nothing when an additional district judge wrote to the president for removal of the Chief Justice as the ministry put the issue in deep-fridge saying that it was sent to the president.
Actually such things never go to the President, he said.
As per the Rules of Business, the Chief Justice explained, the ministry exercised the powers of promotion, posting and removal of the lower court judges seizing the President’s authority.
He said that the ministry did not carry out any Supreme Court order regarding suspension of the lower court judges for corruption and misconduct and it carried out the orders only which favoured them.
Earlier on February 13, the SC had given two weeks time to publish the gazette as the attorney general had submitted written explanation behind his repeated time pleas to this end.
The Supreme Court on February 5 allowed the government one more week in this regard. But the chief law officer of the state sought more time saying the draft of the gazette was sent to President for review.
Earlier on December 12, 2016, the SC had asked the government to finalize rules regarding conduct and service rules for lower court judges and issuing gazette in this regard by January 15.
The apex court passed the order as the Law Ministry on December 11, issued a notification saying the President has decided that there is no need for publishing proposed draft of conduct rules and discipline rules for judicial officers and Bangladesh Judicial Service (service making, appointment to the service post, dismissal, suspension and removal) Rules, 2007 in the Bangladesh gazette.
The SC on December 8 summoned Law and Justice Division Secretary Abu Saleh Sk Md Zahirul Haque and Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division Secretary Mohammad Shahidul Haque to appear before it on December 12 to explain the ministry’s position over the matter.
The SC passed the order while hearing a civil appeal in Masdar Hossain case. The SC on December 2, 1999, delivered the historic verdict with 12-point directives for separating the judiciary from the executive.
The Law Ministry later submitted a draft of service rules regarding conduct for the lower court judges before the apex court. The SC had asked to amend the draft and publish it as gazette notification. Lastly on December 1, 2016, the apex court had asked to issue the gazette notification within seven-day.